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Chicago Truck Accident Attorney

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Due to the sheer size and nature of a semi-trailer truck, accidents can turn catastrophic in the blink of an eye. Catastrophic accidents and wrongful death can happen due to a wide variety of factors including weather, speeding, following too closely, improper lane changes, reckless driving,  improper turns, and a driver’s personal health.

Why Choose A Chicago Truck Accident Attorney From Us?

  • Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have recovered over $2.5 billion on behalf of injured clients in Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois.
  • As a firm, we have the skills, experience, and financial resources to take on any defendant and win.
  • Our truck crash attorneys are experienced in both negotiations and in trials and will not hesitate to take insurance companies to court if they refuse to deal with our clients fairly.
  • Accident lawyers take the time to fully understand our client’s injuries so we understand what they will need to move forward.
  • If your loved one has passed away due to a trucking accident, a Chicago wrongful death attorney can help you receive the compensation you are owed.

Meet Todd Smith And Brian LaCien – Your Chicago Truck Accident Attorneys

Chicago accident attorneys Brian LaCien and Todd A. Smith are renowned for their integrity and diligence. They firmly stand by the principle that each client we serve deserves undivided attention and are active members of the legal community in Chicago.

Over two decades, Brian LaCien has dedicated himself to aiding accident victims, winning millions in verdicts, and Todd Smith has consistently been recognized as one of America’s top lawyers since 1995. With their collective expertise, they are committed to delivering the truck accident case outcomes you deserve.

Chicago car accident awards and banner

car accident chicago awards

$19+ MILLION – Obtained for the wrongful death of a 29-year-old tow truck driver. Smith LaCien LLP is experienced in both truck accidents and wrongful death suits.

$18.5 MILLION – Obtained for a young woman who was a movie extra during the filming of a car crash stunt in “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon.”

Chicago Truck Accident Resources

What a Chicago Truck Accident Attorney Can Do for You

Chicago truck accident attorney

No one should try to take on powerful trucking companies and their insurance carriers alone. A diligent, experienced attorney can maximize your chance for full compensation in the following ways:

  • By gathering and examining eyewitness reports and police reports with a trained eye
  • Collecting any traffic camera or surveillance footage of the truck accident
  • Hiring accident reconstruction specialists if necessary
  • Investigating driver history, road logs, and truck maintenance records
  • Looking for company negligence in driver hiring and/or training practices
  • Diligently filing all paperwork in a timely manner
  • Keep you informed and involved in the process from the beginning until the end
  • Deal with the hassle of insurance demand letters and settlement negotiations
  • Argue aggressively in court on your behalf if necessary

If you have questions or are unsure how to proceed, our experienced car accident attorneys in Chicago can help you handle your claim from start to end.

Chicago Truck Federal and State Safety Regulations

Because of the inherent dangers of trucks on the roads, truck operations are highly regulated by Federal and state government agencies. The Federal Highway Administration operating under the US Department of Transportation has set out regulations known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) to guide the safe operation of trucks. These federal trucking regulations set the minimum standards for the operation of commercial carriers in interstate commerce. They apply to all employers, employees, and commercial motor vehicles that transport property or passengers in interstate commerce.

When a commercial truck driver’s physical condition while on a trip requires the driver to stop driving, but stopping would not be safe, the driver must stop anyway. The drivers’ hours rules put a daily limit of 9 hours of driving between daily/weekly rest periods. The daily limit can however be increased to a maximum of 10 hours of driving in a day but only twice in any one week.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act requires every state to have a program to issue commercial driver’s licenses. The FMCSR has been adopted by and applies in Illinois. Truck drivers and trucking companies must adhere to the regulations, which cover training requirements for truck drivers; preservation of operation records; inspection, repair, and maintenance of trucks, and hours of driving.

These regulations are intended to keep truck drivers and other road users safe from harm. Failure to adhere to these regulations may be sufficient to hold a truck owner or trucking company liable for injuries caused by their truck in a crash.

Negligence And Truck Accidents In Chicago

Negligence is often a factor in truck accidents. In a case based on negligence, the victim must prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care and caused the victim’s injury because they breached their duty of care.

In a case where it can be proved that the truck driver or trucking company failed to adhere to the FMCSR, the victim does not need to prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care. The failure to adhere to the regulation is proof in itself, that the defendant breached their duty of care. Your truck accident lawyer should know the rules and standards to establish the case.

Who Can Be Held Liable In A Chicago Truck Accident?

Truck accident lawyer in Chicago

A truck driver can cause an accident in many ways. They are often forced to work long hours with little or no sleep. Many truck drivers are also given the approval by a trucking company to hit the open road without proper training. With unsafe road conditions and unpredictable weather, they may be ill-equipped to adjust to the changes. Others have a blatant disregard for the safety of those around them.

Truck accidents can be very complex and may involve parties who are not at the scene of the accident. A victim may pursue a claim based on vicarious liability or even product liability.

Vicarious liability

This is a legal principle that holds a party responsible for the negligent acts of their employees or agents. For example, in a case where the truck driver’s reckless driving causes the victim’s injury, even though the truck owner was not directly negligent, they would be held vicariously liable for the truck driver’s actions. The use of independent contractors and subcontractors in the trucking industry can complicate the task of determining who can be held liable for a victim’s injuries. The Chicago truck accident attorneys at Smith LaCien LLP have the resources and investigative skills to identify the legally responsible parties in your case.

Product liability

If the truck accident was caused by a defective auto part, the manufacturer or seller of the defective product may be liable for the victim’s injuries. Contacting a Chicago product liability attorney can help you determine if you are entitled to compensation for your damages.

In some cases, there may be multiple defendants and different bases on which they can be held liable. A thorough investigation into the cause of your personal injury will determine who is liable for your injury and the damages suffered as a result.

Some examples of truck product defects that could lead to manufacturer liability in truck accident cases include the following:

  • Tire defects
  • Brake defects
  • Faulty coupling system between truck and trailer
  • Failing lock systems
  • Any design, manufacturing, or marketing defects leading to a truck accident

When handling these cases, our goal is to fight for the compensation you deserve. We do so by holding all of the necessary parties accountable – from the truck driver to their employer and their insurance company. Our injury lawyers will examine all areas of your case in order to build the strongest possible case possible.

What Are Common Injuries From Chicago Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents can be particularly devastating due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks. These accidents often lead to severe injuries, both for the occupants of the trucks and for other vehicles involved in the collision. Some common truck accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash: Whiplash occurs when the neck and head are forcefully jerked back and forth, commonly seen in rear-end collisions involving trucks.
  • Fractures: The impact of a truck accident can lead to broken bones, especially in the extremities, such as arms, legs, and ribs.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Truck accidents can cause damage to the spinal cord, leading to partial or complete paralysis, depending on the severity and location of the personal injury.
  • Brain Injuries (TBI): The head trauma resulting from a truck accident can cause concussions or more severe traumatic brain injuries, leading to cognitive, behavioral, and physical impairments.
  • Internal Injuries: The force of a truck accident can cause damage to internal organs, such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys, which may require immediate medical attention.
  • Cuts and Lacerations: Broken glass, debris, and other sharp objects in the vehicle can cause cuts and lacerations during an accident.
  • Burns: If a truck catches fire or hazardous materials are involved, occupants may suffer burns of varying degrees.
  • Crush Injuries: Victims may be pinned or trapped under the wreckage, leading to crush injuries that can be severe and life-threatening.
  • Amputations: In severe accidents, limbs may become trapped or severely injured, necessitating surgical amputation.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Survivors of truck accidents, including witnesses, may experience psychological trauma and develop PTSD as a result of the traumatic event.

It’s essential to seek immediate medical attention after a truck accident, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries may not manifest immediately, and prompt medical evaluation can help identify and treat potential issues early on. Additionally, it’s crucial to consult with a personal injury attorney if you’re involved in a truck accident, as these cases can be complex and may require legal assistance to ensure fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

How Does Comparative Negligence Work in Chicago Truck Accident Cases?

Illinois operates under a comparative negligence rule for personal injury cases. If an injury victim was partly at fault for the truck accident or contributed to their own injury in any way, it impacts the amount of their settlement or court award. Fortunately, victims who are determined as less than 50% at fault in an accident can still recover damages from the party most at fault.

If a truck accident victim is found to have been 25% at fault in an accident, their damage award will reflect that by lowering compensation by 25%. In this situation, insurance companies will also offer a settlement at 25% less because both parties understand that a court award would reduce a payout by the amount of fault.

“Smith LaCien was able to get justice and ease my burden from the residual, now lifelong medical issues & financial burden I face. I would highly recommend this firm and send anyone I know, who needs a personal injury attorney, to Smith LaCien. They not only are professional, dedicated, and hard-working but also deliver the results you need. Their vast experience, reputation, and case results speak for themselves!”


What to Do After a Chicago Truck Accident

The aftermath of a truck accident is particularly chaotic and distressing, especially if you’ve sustained serious injuries. If you’re too severely injured to move or trapped inside your vehicle, then remain calm and wait for help to arrive. Motorcyclists face even more serious injuries when involved in a truck accident, but our motorcycle accident attorneys in Chicago are here to help. Nevertheless, if you are in a truck accident, you can help protect your physical and financial health by taking the following steps:

  • Move to the shoulder of the road or a safe location out of traffic but nearby (Never leave the scene of an accident)
  • Call 911 to report the truck accident
  • Render reasonable aid and comfort to any other injured parties
  • Use your phone to take photos of the accident scene, including any involved factors such as signal lights, traffic signs, or faulty trailer parts such as coupling, straps, or tires
  • Take photos of the truck and involved vehicles including license tags and damage
  • Collect contact information from any involved drivers and witnesses
  • Allow the paramedics on the scene to transport you to a hospital
  • Tell the medical professionals about all of your injuries and symptoms and ask for detailed notes
  • Follow all treatment recommendations and follow-ups
  • As for a copy of the police report
  • Call an experienced truck accident lawyer before speaking to any insurance representatives

As challenging as it may be to keep a cool head during the traumatic aftermath of a truck accident, by taking these steps you can maximize your chance for physical and financial recovery moving forward.

How Much Is My Truck Accident Case Worth In Chicago?

The value of your truck accident claim will depend on the severity of the injuries sustained and the total damages suffered. Truck accidents typically result in severe injuries with life-long consequences. As a victim of a truck accident, you may be entitled to recover economic damages including past and future medical costs, lost wages, and property damage, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, disability, and loss of consortium.

Depending on the surrounding circumstances, you may also be entitled to recover punitive damages where the defendant’s conduct was egregious. Whatever the case, our objective is always to recover the fair and just value of your case.

Having an experienced attorney handle your case is critical. Smith LaCien LLP has recovered over $2.5 billion in verdicts and settlements, including a $19 million jury award for the wrongful death of a 29-year-old truck driver. We are here to address your concerns and answer any questions you may have about your case.

What Are Punitive Damages In A Chicago Truck Accident?

The State of Illinois allows injured victims to claim punitive damages in certain circumstances. Unlike the economic and non-economic damages meant to compensate the injured person for the expenses and pain they’ve experienced due to the injury, punitive damages aren’t meant as compensation at all. Instead, punitive damages serve as a form of “punishment” to the at-fault party in a civil lawsuit. It’s also meant as a deterrent to help prevent a repeat of the action that led to the truck accident. An injury victim may only seek punitive damages if the at-fault party engaged in particularly egregious behavior that led to the accident. In truck accidents, the following circumstances might allow a court to consider punitive damages:

  • The truck driver was under the influence of alcohol or other substances when the accident occurred
  • The truck driver engaged in extreme misconduct, such as road rage
  • The truck driver showed a willful disregard for the lives of others on the road by engaging in extremely dangerous actions while understanding what the consequences could be to others on the roadway
  • Malicious intent

A punitive damage award not only gives extra financial security to accident victims, but it also may help them achieve a sense of justice in their case. Punitive damages are separate from any criminal charges pending in the criminal justice system.

Do I Have to Go to Court for My Truck Accident Case in Chicago?

The vast majority of truck accident claims result in an insurance settlement without the need to take a lawsuit into the courtroom. It’s likely that your truck accident claim will settle out of court, so you won’t have to appear before a judge. However, a large trucking company often has very powerful insurance carriers with adjusters whose sole job is to undervalue claims or deny them outright to ensure profitability for their trucking company. An insurance company’s business model depends on taking in more money in premiums than they pay out in claims. An experienced truck accident attorney is more than willing to litigate a case in court when necessary and advocate aggressively against powerful insurance companies for full compensation for your injury.

Call A Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer To Discuss Your Case Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, it is best to talk to a truck accident lawyer in Chicago as soon as possible. For a free consultation, call our office in Chicago at (312) 509-8900 or fill out the form below. We’re here to help you.

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